In sharp contrast to the blazing morning sun during the day's Kadayawan festivities, a cool light evening rain made a trip to one of Davao's popular gourmet establishments extra special.
Just a few minutes drive from The Marco Polo, Bingoy's is known for its classic Spanish inspired cuisine and modern take on local Davao favorites. As soon as we arrived, we were immediately welcomed by Bingoy's lovely owner Mary Ann "Baby" Montemayor and her husband Bingoy, whose love for good food is evident with many of the restaurant's signature dishes. A fine dining establishment with a noticeably formal and elegant look, yet one can sense a warm and casual vibe that almost feels like dining at the home of the restaurant's owners. Baby Montemayor then describes the menu for dinner, as glasses of wine were served, and you just know dinner was going to be special.
Bingoy's starters were then served, with Penne Crackaroni Bites with Basil and Parmesan Cheese, a unique starter with crunchy pasta dusted with basil and Parmesan. A deceptively simple appetizer, and a good indication of the creative and inventive flair of Bingoy's kitchen. Always cool to discover new ways to prepare pasta, and this one ranks high in both creativity and flavor.
Bingoy's Davao Wow Kinilaw, fresh malasugui with salted eggs and lemon, a modern take on the traditional local version of ceviche enriched with salted eggs and lemon. Like many of Davao's dishes, freshness is key in delivering natural and bold flavors.
Fresh Pomelo Salad, a refreshing salad with one of Davao's iconic fruits, with a light vinaigrette and a subtle hint of fish sauce and chili. Sweet, sour and mildly spicy, a complex blend of flavors and a uniquely refreshing taste of Davao.
Bangus Flakes Pinsec Frito, deep-fried dumplings stuffed with smoked whitefish and served with fresh salsa. Familiar flavors with an inventive twist, and we see more of Bingoy's playful inventiveness in the main dishes.
Bingoy's classic Wet Paella, prepared almost like a risotto giving another familiar dish a playful twist in texture. Topped with a variety of fresh seafood and vegetables, the comforting rich flavors are both familiar yet different, something you can expect a lot from Bingoy's.
Davao Lechon Manok stuffed with lemongrass and baby bananas with orange essence, a slow cooked moist and tender fall-off-the-bone chicken infused with the subtle flavors of lemon grass and sweet fruity notes. Each bite brings a distinct fruity flavor, and another in the next bite. Seriously good.
Hinaob na Ooding Awon Manok Hasta Butong, or as Baby lovingly refers to as "Davao Pasta." Strips of young coconut, vegetables and chicken combine with a rich sauce for mildly sweet flavors.
And no typical Davao dinner would be complete without tuna. Bingoy's Grilled Tuna Panga with light curry sauce. The familiar tuna cheeks are given another flavorful twist with a rich coconut cream based curry sauce.
For dessert, Bingoy served its fresh Mini Fruit Skewers...
...a dessert using another of Davao's signature fruits in a richly flavored blend in a sweet roll, the Camote-Durian Roll...
...and chocolate Tablea Flan. Familiar flavors with surprisingly new and modern twists. And at Bingoy's, you'll never know what the creative kitchen will come up with next.
Special thanks to Mary Ann "Baby" M. Montemayor, Bingoy's lovely owner for an awesome dinner, and a unique taste on Davao's evolving cuisine.
Bingoy's is located at the Villa Margarita Hotel along J. P. Laurel Street, Buhangin, Davao City or call (63 82) 221-5675 for inquiries and reservations.
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